Juneteenth is now a federal holiday, but what is its origin and why is it important that we all know this history?

What is Juneteenth?

Man and little girl in convertible in parade; banner on side of car says "The Texas Emancipation Day Commission Inc"

From the San Antonio Express-News Photograph Collection


Juneteenth – also known as Freedom Day, Jubilee Day, Liberation Day, and Emancipation Day – is a holiday celebrating the emancipation of African Americans who had been enslaved in the United States. Although the emancipation proclamation was signed almost two and a half years earlier, the news of this important decision didn’t reach Texas until June 19th, 1865. Now, Juneteenth is celebrated annually on June 19th and has become a time for celebration. People honor Juneteenth in many ways from parties and parades to memorials and lessons. However it’s celebrated, it’s a time to share stories of resilience, resistance, and liberation, and to uplift Black joy. 

From the National Museum of African American History & Culture: Understanding & Celebrating Juneteenth

The National Museum of African American History & Culture